Since the Association for Project Management first published its Body of Knowledge in 1992, frequent updates have reflected new developments in project management thinking and practice. The seventh edition, published in 2019, incorporates several changes which affect the syllabus of the APM Fundamentals (PFQ) and Project Management Qualification (PMQ) examinations that come into effect from the start of 2021.
The most significant difference since version six (2012) has been to recognise that organisations have to deliver change in an increasingly volatile, complex and ambiguous world. New project management approaches are required. Agile principles and techniques have been added alongside the existing linear lifecycle, that the APM now describes as Concept, Definition, Deployment and Transition. The goal is to increase the velocity of relevant business changes being adopted into operational use. Thus delivering business outcomes sooner and resulting in faster benefits realisation.
The Linear (Waterfall), Iterative (Agile) and even Hybrid (of the two) lifecycles are now embedded within the rest of the APM BOK7. All projects, regardless of lifecycle chosen, are planned and resourced appropriately, delivered effectively with active leadership and stakeholder engagement resulting in successful outcomes for the organisation.
As such the roles and responsibilities now include the role of Product Owner – an Agile role responsible for prioritising business value and leading empowered Agile / Scrum teams to deliver the solutions the business needs in a timeboxed and dynamic way.
Increasingly, even before the COVID19 pandemic, project teams are not always co-located but working from remote locations as “virtual teams”. The syllabus looks at the different management needs and the typical challenges leaders face when trying to manage project teams in a virtual environment.
It also develops the role of the Project Management Office (or more accurately P3O – Portfolio, Programme and Project Office) that provides support and assurance services to the three levels of strategic, transformational and step-change within the organisation. The three PMO/P3O design options of embedded (within the change initiative), central (across all areas of change) and hub and spoke (a hybrid of the two) allows for appropriate and cost-effective PMO services to be provided at the point of delivery.
The PFQ and PMQ examinations have not changed in duration or style, although the option to complete the exam on-line is a welcome innovation! The examination language has been tightened in both to make the questions clearer. No longer is there a requirement to complete any calculations, the emphasis is to move away from doing a technique (e.g. earned value management) to its interpretation and use to help manage change in a complex and uncertain world.